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Board of Directors

The Board of Directors oversees ACORN's CEO and remains responsible for the strategic direction of the company. Currently, the board comprises eight directors, including a Board Chair, a director from each of the seven state and territory associations, two independent directors and a member director.

Jessica PougnaultJess Pougnault is a passionate perioperative nurse leader with extensive experience in adult and paediatric perioperative clinical settings. She has experience in senior nursing and hospital roles and is currently the Director of Safety, Quality and Performance at Women and Newborn Health Service in Western Australia. Her dedication to continued learning has seen her complete a Bachelor’s of Science (Nursing), Masters of Clinical Nursing (Perioperative), multiple postgraduate leadership and management diplomas. Jess is currently undertaking a Masters of Business Administration to continue with ongoing learning, development and the ability to influence for all perioperative nurses.

Jess has a focus on contemporary governance principles, influencing governments and the sustainable growth of ACORN Australia as the professional governing body for perioperative nurses nationally.

Tarryn Armour

Tarryn Armour (BN, BHlthProm, GDip AdNrsgPrac (periop), GDip HigherEd, Master ClinEd, FHEA, FACORN) is a Lecturer in Nursing at Deakin University teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate nurses. Tarryn has over 10 years of experience in perioperative nursing with qualifications in Perioperative Nursing Practice and Education. Tarryn is a past President of the Victorian Perioperative Nurses Group (VPNG) and has worked with the Australia College of Perioperative Nurses (ACORN) to review and develop the 2020 Standards of Practice for Perioperative Nursing in Australia.

Tarryn is dedicated to growing and improving perioperative nursing practice and has a special interest in simulation-based education and the importance of using and teaching 'non-technical' skills to improve patient safety. Tarryn lives in Melbourne with her partner, two children and her dog, Peggy.

Alison SchofieldAlison Schofield worked in an office for many years before studying nursing at Sydney University. She did her new graduate year at Goulburn Hospital, then spent some time working in ICU and the relief pool at Canberra Hospital before deciding to give peri-op nursing a go.  She spent 2 years working in recovery, both in the public and private sector in Canberra before deciding to spread her wings and worked in recovery in Saudi Arabia for 16 months (an experience she would highly recommend).  After doing a little travelling on the way home, Alison returned to recovery at Canberra Hospital where she worked for a further 4 years (including sometime as CNS and NUM) before deciding on a tree change and moved to Culcairn. Whilst in Culcairn, Alison worked in both Culcairn MPS and Holbrook Hospitals doing ED, nursing home and ward work, and completed FLECC (first line emergency care course).  After 2 years, she decided small hospital work was not for her and moved to Wagga and back to recovery nursing.

Alison is currently working as a CNS in recovery at Wagga Hospital and involved in several projects, including waste reduction in theatres, bettering the quality of student placements in recovery, and improving communication in the periop environment. Alison has completed a graduate certificate in perioperative nursing

Justine Vost

Justine Cartwright has been a perioperative nurse for the last 12 years. She began her career in Sydney at Prince of Wales/ Sydney Children’s Hospital with some of Australia’s Perioperative royalty. Its is no surprise that Justine developed a passion for education and a need to further herself. In 2013, Justine moved to Queensland and started to further her passion. Working within several roles within the private sector Justine developed her leadership skills at first St Andrews War Memorial Hospital and then Mater Private Hospital South Brisbane and decided to step into the world of education. During her time as Clinical Facilitator Justine completed her Graduate Certificate in Nursing Specialisation (Leadership in Practice) and created a perioperative awareness module with the Mater Education High School Adventure Program. Taking an opportunity to be part of the leadership team, Justine returned to St Andrews and back into the fold as theatre floor coordinator, but education was never too far from her mind. In 2021 the creation of a Clinical Facilitator role saw Justine stepping back into education and her passion of shaping the future of Perioperative Nursing. In 2022 Justine stepped up into the Clinical Nurse Educator role, and within this space she has found her stride.

Fuelling Justine’s passion has been her work with ACORN, and especially ACORN QLD. Justine was a committee member on the ACORN QLD Board from 2017 until 2020. Within her second year on the committee Justine stepped into the role of the secretary and worked as an active member of the education team.

Kylie Stopp

Kylie Stopp has held a number of nursing and management positions within the healthcare environment in New South Wales, Victoria and her home state, South Australia. Kylie is passionate about the role of ACORN’s governance, guidance, and accountability within the perioperative setting and how it allows a level of both professionalism and leadership. It is Kylie’s mission is to work collaboratively with both SAPNA and ACORN to ensure that they become the first point of reference for all nursing staff wanting to pursue long term careers within the perioperative sector and on all levels of registration but with particular relevance given to the Enrolled Nurse. 

Kylie’s association with ACORN began in 2020 when she was selected to be a part of the Professional Workstream Team - Professional Standards Road Map Project. Kylie has over the last 21 years, strived for continual personal and professional development including holding Cert III (Health) in both Operating Theatre Services and Sterilisation Services, Cert IV (Health) Nursing, an Associate Diploma in Accounting and a Diploma of Business Management (Medical). She has also completed a range of clinically relevant qualifications within her role as an Anaesthetic Nurse within the Calvary Health Care group and hopes to build on this foundation in the future. 

Caroline Louise Johnson

Caroline Louise Johnson came to Perioperative Nursing in 2009. Placed in theatre as part of her Graduate Year, Caroline initially intended to return to Surgical Nursing at the end of her 6-month placement but the perioperative bug bit hard, and she has remained in Perioperative Nursing ever since.

Caroline is a Perioperative Clinical Nurse Specialist – Educator based in Launceston, Northern Tasmania working as part of the Calvary St Luke’s and St Vincent’s Perioperative Education Team. Caroline has 13 years' experience in Anaesthetics and Post-Anaesthetic Recovery Nursing and has gained post-graduate qualifications in Anaesthetics and Recovery, and Clinical Nursing and Teaching.

Recognising the importance of equipping the next generation of Perioperative Nurses with the skills they need to provide perioperative nursing care to a high standard, Caroline is actively involved with perioperative education. She supports and mentors both Graduate Nurses transitioning to perioperative practice and Undergraduate Nurses undertaking theatre placement. Caroline is also passionately motivated toward investigating and implementing quality improvements that assist Perioperative Nurses to act as effective patient advocates. Additionally, Caroline has a keen interest in implementing strategies to assist with addressing human factors when managing clinical emergencies within the perioperative environment.

Caroline, her husband and her three children enjoy spending time together exploring Tasmania’s wilderness beauty on foot, on the snow, and on/under the water.

Veronica HillVeronica Hill is currently the Clinical Nurse Manager of Operating Theatres at SJOG Midland Public & Private Hospital in Western Australia. She has worked in education, clinical specialist, and management in private Operating theatres throughout Perth. Her passion for perioperative nursing and education has led to her active participation in the local and national perioperative organisation, ACORN WA, as well as other professional bodies. During Veronica’s past ACORN directorship, she had opportunity to be part of national advisory bodies, and committees, contributing to her deep understanding of best practice and standards, at a national and international level. 

Sophie Ehrlich

Sophie Ehrlich first experienced perioperative nursing in 2012 as a graduate nurse and hasn’t looked back since as she felt right at home amongst the theatre environments.  Sophie has worked in all areas of the perioperative environments starting as an instrument/ circulating nurse then made the switch to Anaesthetics and Post Anaesthetic Care Unit where she felt most suited her. In this space, Sophie regularly relieved as Clinical Nurse Educator over many years and is passionate about aiding others to develop and/or gain their skills and knowledge.  Sophie has achieved a Postgraduate Diploma of Clinical Nursing–Perioperative and is currently working towards her master’s in leadership and Management.  Sophie most recently acted as the Clinical Nurse Manager of the Perioperative Suites at Palmerston Regional Hospital which encompassed Day Care, Perioperative, Post Anaesthetic Care Unit and Central Sterilising Department. 
Throughout her perioperative career and in each and every position held, Sophie is a passionate about ensuring the patient has the best possible experience in their perioperative journey.

George EskanderDr George Eskander is currently Executive Area Director Clinical Services at a large metropolitan quaternary hospital group in Perth, as well as a specialist-registered general practitioner. He also serves as Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor at Curtin University. Involved with medical regulation at a national level, he further oversees the commissioning, quality assurance and delivery of the RACGP Fellowship Examination. While in the UK, he chiefly served on the General Medical Council and at expert advisory level within the Care Quality Commission. He led various service transformation initiatives at a metropolitan strategic level.

Holding a variety of executive roles at both board level and at expert advisory level within a number of health service providers and regulatory entities, he has developed extensive expertise pertaining to the regulation of medical practitioners and health care providers. He is involved at the national level in medical regulation and has strong expertise with respect to the implementation of clinical governance frameworks. During his tenure in the UK, he served as Expert Medical Advisor to the Care Quality Commission, a statutory UK regulator involved in the regulation of health care providers, and was involved in rolling out a novel enhanced risk-based approach to health care regulation. He further served on the General Medical Council relating to the national provision of postgraduate education and fitness to practise procedures. He was also involved in the strategic deployment of integrated clinical informatics provision across large metropolitan districts.

George is passionate about advocating for genuine interprofessional working, and about empowering all professions to practise to the full of their professional capabilities. When not at work, he enjoys running half-marathons dressed as a massive gingerbread man to raise money for good causes.